San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has been suspended for 80 games after testing positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Tatis’ suspension, announced Friday by MLB, is effective immediately, meaning the All-Star shortstop will not be able to play in the majors this year. In a statement, Tatis said he will not appeal the ban because it was his “mistake” that led to the positive test.
“It turned out that I accidentally took a drug to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol,” Tatis said. “I should have used the means at my disposal to make sure there were no banned substances in it. I didn’t.
“I want to apologize to Peter [Seidler]AJ [Preller], the entire Padres organization, my teammates, Major League Baseball and fans everywhere for my mistake. I have no excuse for my mistake and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game I love. I have undergone numerous drug tests during my professional career, including on March 29, 2022, all of which had negative results until this test.”
Tatis will now be on the limited list for the final 48 games of the Padres regular season. All post-season games the Padres play this season will count towards Tatis’s total of 80 games. The remainder of the suspension will be evicted at the beginning of the 2023 season.
“I am absolutely devastated,” Tatis said in the statement. “Nowhere in the world would I rather be than competing on the pitch with my teammates. After initially appealing the suspension, I realized that my mistake was the cause of this result and that’s why I decided to start my suspension immediately after serving. I look forward to being back on the field with my teammates in 2023.”
Tatis was on a minor league rehab assignment at the time of the suspension after missing the first four months of the season due to a broken left wrist following a motorcycle accident in December. Tatis underwent wrist surgery only in mid-March.
Padres general manager Preller called the suspension “very disappointing” and said the team hoped to see more maturity from their young star.
“He’s someone we’ve invested time and money in from an organizational standpoint,” Preller told reporters. “When he’s on the pitch, he makes the difference. You have to learn from the situations. We were hoping there would be some maturity from the off-season until now, and with today’s news it’s more of a pattern and it’s something true we need to dig in a little more. … I’m sure he’s very disappointed. But at the end of the day, it’s one thing to say it. You have to start showing through your actions.”
Preller added: “I think we need to get to a point in time that we trust [him]. Over the course of the last six or seven months, that’s been something that we haven’t really been able to have there.
“From our point of view I think he is clearly a great talent, he is a man with whom we have a lot of history and we believe in, but these things only work if there is mutual trust.”
Freddy Galvis and Dee Gordon are among the big players who have been previously suspended for using Clostebol, an anabolic steroid that can be used for ophthalmic and dermatological use. It has also been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Olympic gold medal-winning cross-country skier Therese Johaug was banned in 2016 after testing positive for it.
“Everyone shocked,” Padres star Manny Machado said of the suspension after a 10-5 win over Washington.
Preller said he learned of the ban late Friday afternoon. He said he had not yet spoken to Tatis, but had seen his player’s statement.
“Again, that’s his story,” Preller said. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it yet. Ultimately, that’s his statement. I think the most important thing from our point of view, from a baseball point of view, is drug policy. He failed a drug screening. Because for whatever reason .
“Ultimately he’s suspended and can’t play. That’s the most important thing. That’s a player’s responsibility to make sure he sticks to that. He wasn’t. In the end he supported that and wants to make sure he that understands.”
MLB said the suspension will also eliminate Tatis for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
Tatis, 23, is one of the biggest stars in MLB, the center of multiple marketing campaigns and on the second season of a $340 million 14-year contract.
After emerging as a star in his rookie season at age 20, Tatis, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound shortstop whose strength, speed and penchant for the spectacular earned him legions of fans, finished fourth in the National League MVP vote in his sophomore campaign. Last year he was even better, signing the record deal, finishing third in the MVP voting and becoming one of the best players in the game.
The Padres collapsed but had high hopes for 2022 after hiring Bob Melvin as their new manager. After Tatis’ surgery, San Diego vowed to recover slowly and was teeming with anticipation of a lineup with Tatis in the lead, new signing Juan Soto in second and Machado in third.
“When you hear that he is banned for 80 games and is not part of what we are trying to achieve here, you don’t want to hear that before a game and not in general. It’s just a terrible thing,” Machado said. “We waited to get him back and for him to be a spark plug.”
Manager Bob Melvin added: “This is a blow to us. … I’m glad we took the steps we took over the deadline.”
After Friday night’s win over Washington, San Diego is 64-51 and has a two game lead over the Brewers for the final NL wildcard spot. The Padres’ chances of winning the World Series went from 13-1 to 16-1 at Caesars Sportsbook after news of the suspension. San Diego now has the fourth best chance of winning the World Series among NL teams.
The suspension will cost Tatis up to $2.9 million. Tatis will lose $1,510,989 of his $5 million salary this year, for the last 55 days and 48 games of the season. He will lose approximately $1.39 million of his $7 million salary for the first 32 games of next season, the exact number being determined by the number of days he misses.
In 273 games in his career, Tatis hits .292/.369/.569 with 81 homeruns, 192 RBI’s and 52 stolen bases.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.